Thousands of police in Turkey have surrounded the Incirlik air base used by NATO forces in what some are saying is a reaction to a new coup attempt.
Over 7,000 armed police with rifles and armored TOMA vehicles surrounded the base in Adana in an effort to thwart a second anticipated coup.
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Which brings us to today, and the news that NATO’s critical Incirlik Air Base was hours ago completely blocked off by Turkey, with all inputs and outputs to the Adana base having been closed according to Turkey’s Hurriyet among rumors of yet another coup.
As the Turkish Minister for European Affairs, Omar Celik, tweeted moments ago, this is just a routine “safety inspection”, although it has not stopped local papers from speculating that a a second Gulen-inspired coup attempt may be underway.
ADANA'dayım. İncirlik veya Adana'daki başka yerle ilgili bir sıkıntı yok. Genel güvenlik değerlendirmesi de yaptık. Herhangi bir sorun yok
— Ömer Çelik (@omerrcelik) July 30, 2016
Hurriyet has raised concern that the closing may be tied to an attempt by the Erdogan regime to prevent a second coup attempt.
Some 7,000 armed police with heavy vehicles have surrounded and blocked the Incirlik air base in Adana used by NATO forces, already restricted in the aftermath of a failed coup. Unconfirmed reports say troops were sent to deal with a new coup attempt.
Hurriyet reported earlier that Adana police had been tipped off about a new coup attempt, and forces were immediately alerted. The entrance to the base was closed off. Security forces armed with rifles and armored TOMA vehicles used by Turkish riot police could be seen at the site in photos taken by witnesses.
Indeed, the massive presence of armed police supported by heavy vehicles calls into question the Turkish government’s official line that the lock down at the Incirlik base is merely a “safety inspection.”?
#Tatvan derken#incirlik üssünde olağanüstü hareketlilik.#PÖH giriş çıkışları tutmuş tetikte bekliyor. pic.twitter.com/TSsqHW9Ydk
— Levent TEKİN (@Levent_Tekin) July 30, 2016
Local media has focused on the base after the failed coup in Turkey occurred the night of July 15. Although the main scenes of the events were Istanbul and Ankara, Incirlik was shut down for a time by local authorities shortly after the putsch, and several Turkish soldiers from the base were deemed by Turkish officials to be involved in the overthrow attempt.
The lockdown at Incirlik follows a massive wave of protests on Thursday when pro-Erdogan nationalists took to the streets yelling “death to the US” and called for the immediate closure of the Incirlik base. Security personnel dispersed the protesters before they were able to make it to the base.
And while there has been no official statement from US armed forces stationed at Incirlik at this time, the situation continues to develop in front of the air bBase as more heavy trucks have been dispatched to surround and block access to the critical military facility.
PHOTOS: Multiple municipal truck arrive at Incirlik base in #Turky – @nighttides https://t.co/GVpq98D0sf
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) July 30, 2016
It is unclear if Erdogan is naive enough to think that he can out-bluff and out-bully the US and keep Incirlik hostage until he gets Gulen repatriated by Obama on a silver platter, a hostage “tit for tat” we first described two weeks ago. If so, one wonders, if he is doing so alone, or with the moral support of others, perhaps such recently prominent enemies of Erdogan as Vladimir Putin. Recall that just over a month ago Erdogan publicly apologized to Putin for downing the Russian Su-24 fighter jet in November, and called Putin “a friend.”
Finally, at least as of this moment, it appears that theairspace around Incirlik is closed.
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